Riddle for students

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Aces, Oct 11, 2018 at 2:50 PM.

  1. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2018 at 2:50 PM

    so with my senior physics class Wednesday morning I walked in and announced "Good morning detectives! You have a new case to investigate!" I told them the following information:
    "You are a detective and you have been called to the scene of what you believe to be a crime. You go to the location which is a field in the middle of the country, out in the middle of nowhere. You arrive to find a body in the middle of the field. The body is a male, roughly 20-30 years old. He is naked, and holding a piece of straw in one hand. You are informed by the medical examiner on your arrival that cause of death appears to be blunt force trauma. The only things in the field are the body and the police. There are no tracks of f any sort other than the ones the police created. I am your only witness, and you can ask me anything you want, but I can only give you a yes or no answer. Assume that everything I tell you is truthful."

    Since Wednesday, they've asked quite a few questions:
    Did you kill him? No.
    Were you there when he was killed? Yes.
    So you know how he was killed? Yes.
    Do you know why he was killed? Yes.
    Is the straw important? Yes.
    Do you know why he was naked? Yes.
    Do you know what the straw has to do with anything? Yes.
    Do you know how he got here? Yes.
    Was he thrown out of the back of a vehicle? No.
    Was he thrown out of a plane? No.
    Were you flying? Yes.
    Were you in a helicopter? No.
    At this point they seem pretty stumped and class was over Wednesday. I advised that they're thinking too high tech for how they were flying. Que Thursday:
    Was he abducted by aliens? No.
    Is this a plausible situation? Yes.
    Is this something that could happen to anybody? Yes.
    Were you on a glider? No.
    Were you and he the only ones there? No.
    Were there at least three people there? Yes.
    Were there at least 4 people there? Yes.
    Were there at least 5 people there? No.
    So there were four of you there? Yes.
    Were you and the others also naked? Yes.
    Did you and the others also have straw? Yes.
    Straw like hay? Yes.
    Did you have straw and were naked for the same reason? Yes.
    Were you in a hot air balloon? Yes.

    At this point, one of my students figures out most of the story I think. I saw the exact aha moment. He goes I think I have a theory as to what happened.

    "The four of you were in a hot air balloon and had mechanical trouble with the flame or a hole or something in the balloon itself. You started to sink so in order to save yourselves, you stripped and threw your clothes overboard. When that didn't work, you drew straws to see who would take one for the team. John Doe drew the short straw."
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 11, 2018 at 8:12 PM

    Where are the other people and the balloon? How did you get out of the balloon? Did you get your clothes back? :eek::p
     
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  4. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2018 at 10:25 PM

    Lol good questions! No no and yes. It was just something fun and outside of the box I decided to do. However! It did tie into what we were talking about this week. We were talking about how planes and helicopters create lift to give us the marvel of modern flight. It was also mentioned about how much force a human body would endure jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
     
  5. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Oct 13, 2018 at 11:31 AM

    This is one of the most fascinating physics exercises I’ve ever seen. Well done!
     
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  6. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oct 13, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    Thank you! It was a lot of fun because of the detective element to it. I love doing what I'd call out of the box stuff. To finish, we proved our theory by using software to stimulate the fall and injuries.
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oct 13, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    And I should add that part of it was that they had to figure out things like how high the balloon was when they fell, the rate at which they would have fallen, etc. Yanno once they had figured it out, we went more in depth about what was happening.
     

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